The Fire has a 7-inch screen and can access Amazon's app store and stream movies and TV shows. While the device contains only 8 gigabytes of internal storage, users can access media through the Internet, taking advantage of unlimited free storage on Amazon's network.
The device runs on a customized version of Android and uses a Texas Instruments Inc. dual-core, 1 gigahertz processor (iPad uses a dual-core 1 gigahertz processor designed by Apple).
Fire uses a new Web browser called Silk, which is faster than other browsers because the software runs partly out of Amazon's data centers. This provides Amazon with user behavior data and creates a privatized merchant data-aggregation network. Fire isn’t a noun, it’s a verb.
The Fire doesn't have a camera or microphone, and it doesn't offer cellular connection, working only with Wi-Fi. In addition, the low amount of internal storage limits what users are able to do if they don't have an Internet connection.
Considering technical limitations that limit business use, the Fire does not appear to compete directly with the iPad but rather the Nook as a media player. It's designed for reading books and magazines, playing videos and games, and surfing the Web.
The iPad is much more than a media tablet. It's a productivity device, a communications device, and a media creation device. See apps like GarageBand and Keynote. The iPad also has sufficient security and management capabilities to fit in most businesses, so it can be a dual-use single device for many consumers. Apple has sold about 29 million iPads since the product went on sale early last year and had 68.3% of the tablet market in the second quarter, according to data tracker IDC.
The Fire will be released Nov. 15, while the touch Kindles will ship Nov. 21.
Amazon also showed off a new line of Kindle electronic readers, with two new touchscreen Kindles priced at USD $99 for the Wi-Fi only version and $149 for 3G cellular connectivity. A non-touch Kindle will sell for $79. Kindles without ads are priced higher. Previously, the cheapest Kindle was a $114 ad-displaying version.